Tower Heist is the latest effort from director Brett Ratner (known for Rush Hour, hated for X-Men 3), who once again dips his toe in the heist genre (the first being 2004’s After the Sunset).
This time around Ratner refines his ability to take the audience on an engaging journey with characters the audience can actually get behind. Typically heist films are plagued by the fine line that exists between hero and villain - by definition stealing is wrong, so if your protagonists are the ones executing the heist they need a good believable motive. And with Tower Heist, they do.
If you don’t know what the film is about, well then take a couple minutes and watch the trailer:
Now, much like the horror genre, the heist film has been done to death and innovative takes on it are few and far between - but, they continue to make them and we continue to go, due to a certain comfort in knowing what we’re getting into. This film does not re-define the wheel, but it is an engaging, big, bright, exciting adventure. And, while the story finds plot holes large enough to step through and toys with reality on a gluttonous level - the ensemble cast of characters make it all seem perfectly believable.
Ben Stiller leads us through this sordid tale up against villain Alan Alda (the man can do no wrong), both give impressive performances. Eddie Murphy takes a much needed vacation from his family friendly fare to don an edgier persona, unfortunately though, it comes off as little more than a parody of his past greatest. The real stand out here is Matthew Broderick (who finally makes up for Godzilla), of all the players in this extensive ensemble he steals the show as the only lead to have a number of genuinely funny moments and one-liners. Casey Affleck, Tea Leoni, and Gabourey Sidibe round out the main cast, and all add in some way to the overall charm of the film - though they felt slightly underused.
All in all, this film is for the most part exactly what you expect it to be. There’s no great advancements in cinema here, but it is a fine tooled action comedy and it’s a lot of fun to watch.